Friday, July 30, 2010

Two National Figures Headed to Indiana to Help with Fundraising

And both of them courtesy of the tireless efforts of Dee Dee Benkie, Indiana's GOP national committeewoman.

One is Karl Rove:


The other is Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is attending events outside Indianapolis, in the 8th District up in Sullivan, and right here in God's Country (aka Harrison County):

Sheriff Joe ArpaioThe Harrison County Republican Party invites you to join us on the evening of Saturday, August 21, to welcome America's Toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Joe, famous for making inmates in the Maricopa County Jail in Arizona wear pink underwear and housing them in a tent city in the desert to save taxpayer dollars, will be in Corydon for a reception and to speak at dinner.

The dinner will be held at the Parish Hall at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Corydon and will be preceded by a reception at the First State Office Building in support of Harrison County's candidates in the 2010 election.

Tickets to the reception are $120.10 per couple (for the 2010 election) and $80 per individual. The reception will include a photo taken with Sheriff Joe. Doors open for the reception at 5:45 p.m. Tickets to dinner are included in the cost of the reception.

Tickets to dinner are $25 per person for regular seating and $35 per person for reserved priority seating. Doors open for dinner at 6:45 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.

Join us for an exciting evening with America's Toughest Sheriff. You've heard about Joe Arpaio on television and probably read about him in emails forwarded to you by family and friends. Now meet him in person.

Tickets will be limited.

Click here to register online:


You can also register by calling the Harrison County Republican Headquarters at 225-5551.

Payment is accepted online via credit card or by check (via mail or dropped off at the headquarters).

Click here to tell your friends about this event on Facebook.

Click here to read Sheriff Joe’s bio.

Get your tickets soon, before they sell out.

Arizona Blues

There's been a lot of interesting writing in the past couple of days about the Federal judge's decision to basically gut Arizona's immigration law.

For Obama and the Democrats, it is a Pyrrhic victory. They may have gutted the law, but they have outraged the American public in how they did it. The decision seems to have quite questionable reasoning.

Andy McCarthy at National Review:

On a quick read, the federal court’s issuance of a temporary injunction against enforcement of the major provisions of the Arizona immigration law appears specious.

In essence, Judge Susan Bolton bought the Justice Department’s preemption argument — i.e., the claim that the federal government has broad and exclusive authority to regulate immigration, and therefore that any state measure that is inconsistent with federal law is invalid. The Arizona law is completely consistent with federal law. The judge, however, twisted to concept of federal law into federal enforcement practices (or, as it happens, lack thereof). In effect, the court is saying that if the feds refuse to enforce the law the states can’t do it either because doing so would transgress the federal policy of non-enforcement … which is nuts.

The judge also employs a cute bit of sleight-of-hand. She repeatedly invokes a 1941 case, Hines v. Davidowitz, in which the Supreme Court struck down a state alien-registration statute. In Hines, the high court reasoned that the federal government had traditionally followed a policy of not treating aliens as “a thing apart,” and that Congress had therefore “manifested a purpose … to protect the liberties of law-abiding aliens through one uniform national system” that would not unduly subject them to “inquisitorial practices and police surveillance.” But the Arizona law is not directed at law-abiding aliens in order to identify them as foreigners and subject them, on that basis, to police attention. It is directed at arrested aliens who are in custody because they have violated the law. And it is not requiring them to register with the state; it is requiring proof that they have properly registered with the federal government — something a sensible federal government would want to encourage.

Judge Bolton proceeds from this misapplication of Hines to the absurd conclusion that Arizona can’t ask the federal government for verification of the immigration status of arrestees — even though federal law prohibits the said arrestees from being in the country unless they have legal status — because that would tremendously burden the feds, which in turn would make the arrestees wait while their status is being checked, which would result in the alien arrestees being treated like “a thing apart.”

The ruling ignores that, in the much later case of Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Supreme Court has emphasized that

Although the State has no direct interest in controlling entry into this country, that interest being one reserved by the Constitution to the Federal Government, unchecked unlawful migration might impair the State’s economy generally, or the State’s ability to provide some important service. Despite the exclusive federal control of this Nation’s borders, we cannot conclude that the States are without power to deter the influx of persons entering the United States against federal law, and whose numbers might have a discernible impact on traditional state concerns. [Emphasis added.]

Furthermore, as Matt Mayer of the Heritage Foundation notes, the Fifth Circuit federal appeals court similarly held in Lynch v. Cannatella (1987) that “No statute precludes other federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies from taking other action to enforce this nation’s immigration laws.”

However this ruling came out, it was only going to be the first round. Appeal is certain. But the gleeful Left may want to put away the party hats. This decision is going to anger most of the country. The upshot of it is to tell Americans that if they want the immigration laws enforced, they are going to need a president willing to do it, a Congress willing to make clear that the federal government has no interest in preempting state enforcement, and the selection of judges who will not invent novel legal theories to frustrate enforcement. They are not going to get that from the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Democrats.

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

The result of the injunction granted today by the federal court in Arizona preventing the key provisions of S.B. 1070 from taking effect is not just the maintenance of the status quo.

At a legal level, it is true that nothing has changed. S.B. 1070 never took effect, so no law was lost.

At a more realistic level, everything has changed.

States have been left helpless to deal with the anarchy created by the failure of the federal government to enforce border security. Whereas yesterday it was unclear how far states (such as Rhode Island) could go, today states are powerless.

The inability of a state to implement a policy of checking the immigration status even of people already under arrest for some other crime is remarkable.

While I cannot blame the Judge for striking some provisions of S.B. 1070 (particularly those creating independent criminal sanctions), the ruling as to checking the status of people already under arrest is mind-numbing.

As a reader to my prior post points out, states already routinely run searches for a variety of statuses, including outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks. Each of these checks potentially could delay release of an innocent person or burden some federal agency.

The Judge's reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to these other status checks.

With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on "comprehensive" immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.

As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.

When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.

Update 7-29-2010: As others have noted, the Judge enjoined the checking of status of arrestees by reading the second sentence of Section 2(B) ("Any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is arrested") as completely independent of the first sentence, which requires reasonable suspicion prior to a status check. That reading by the Judge plainly is wrong, since the first sentence specifically references the requirement of reasonable suspicion after "any lawful stop, detention or arrest...." (emphasis mine) The language of the statute fully supported the state's position, which the judge rejected, that the state only intended to check the status of arrestees as to whom there was reasonable suspicion, and who did not have any of the accepted forms of identification. Given the Judge's rulings on preemption and the 4th Amendment, I'm not sure the result would have been any different had she read the statute correctly.

Jacobson has a bit of what is, in a way, good news:

Arizona has requested that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals set an expedited briefing schedule which would have the case fully briefed in just over one month. This is about half the time normally allotted for briefing in appeals from a preliminary injunction.

The U.S. Department of Justice has just filed an opposition to the motion, arguing that the regular schedule should be followed, which would not have the case fully briefed until October 7, 2010. DOJ stated that it did not want its usual 28 day time period shortened, even if Arizona shortened its own time for briefing.

The longer the delay on the court ruling on this, the more time this issue will be in the public spotlight, getting attention and media coverage and hurting Obama and the Democrats for their craven refusal to deal with illegal immigration.

And, with court hearings starting on October 7, at the height of the fall campaign, this is likely to be a significant issue in many races nationwide. The decision might even come down before the election, providing a moment of clarity for voters.

Barone: Democrats Headin' for a Thumpin'

Okay. He didn't actually say that.

He ended his words with Gs.

Barone:

Democratic spin doctors have set out how their side is going to hold onto a majority in the House. They'll capture four at-risk Republican seats, hold half of the next 30 or so Democratic at-risk seats, and avoid significant losses on target seats lower on the list.

That's one plausible scenario. The shift of opinion away from Democrats so evident in the polls could turn out to be illusory. The widely held assumption that Republicans will turn out in greater numbers than Democrats could prove wrong.

Democratic candidates do indeed have a money advantage in many close races, and their campaign committee has more cash than its Republican counterpart.

All that said, this Democratic spin sounds a lot like the Republican spin back in the 2006 cycle. If the numbers don't change too much from 2004, Republicans said then, we can hold on. If the numbers don't change too much from 2008, Democrats think now, they can hold on.

But the Republicans, as George W. Bush said, took "a thumping" in 2006. And most signs suggest Democrats will take a thumping this year too.

To see why, take a look at the generic ballot question -- which party's candidate will you vote for in elections to the House? The current realclearpolitics.com average shows Republicans ahead by 45 to 41 percent. Ten of this month's 15 opinion polls asking the question had Republicans ahead; Democrats led in four (twice by 1 percent), and one poll showed a tie.

Keep in mind that the generic ballot question historically has tended to underpredict Republican performance in off-year elections. Gallup has been asking the question since 1950 and has shown Republicans leading only in two cycles, 1994 and 2002, and then by less than the 7 and 5 points by which they won the popular vote for the House in those years.

So the Republicans' current lead in the generic ballot question suggests they may be on the brink of doing better than in any election since 1946, when they won a 245-188 margin in the House -- larger than any they've held ever since.

Another metric is daunting for Democrats. Polls in House races almost always show incumbents ahead of challengers, because incumbent members of Congress are usually much better known than their opponents. An incumbent running below 50 percent is considered potentially in trouble; an incumbent running behind a challenger is considered in deep doo-doo.

In 1994, I wrote an article in U.S. News & World Report arguing that there was a serious chance that Republicans could capture the 40 seats that they needed then, as now, for a majority in the House. It was the first mainstream media piece suggesting that, and it appeared on newsstands on July 11.

I cited as evidence five polls showing incumbent Democratic congressmen trailing Republican challengers. None of those Democrats had scandal problems; all five lost in November.

Today a lot more Democratic incumbents seem to be trailing Republican challengers in polls. Jim Geraghty of National Review Online has compiled a list of 13 Democratic incumbents trailing in polls released over the past seven weeks.

Some of these poll numbers are mind-boggling. Tom Perriello, a 727-vote winner in Virginia 5 in 2008, has been running two weeks of humorous ads showing what a hard worker he is. A poll shows him trailing Republican state Sen. Robert Hurt 58 to 35 percent.

In industrial Ohio 13, which Barack Obama carried 57 to 42, a poll shows incumbent Betty Sutton trailing free-spending Republican Tom Ganley 44 to 31 percent.

As Geraghty notes, we haven't seen polls released by many other Democrats on Republican target lists. Most are conducting polls; many have reason to release favorable results if they're available. This looks like a case where the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Two years ago, Obama was elected president with a historic 53 percent of the vote -- more than any other Democrat in history except Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.

These metrics -- the generic ballot results and polls in individual districts -- suggest that House Democrats are headed toward historic losses. Quite a swing in 18 months.

Shock: Opposition Party Stands with President to Vote to Fund Unpopular War

And here I thought that all Republicans were knee-jerk partisans that wanted Obama to fail at everything, no matter what the consequences. Guess not.

New York Times:

the House of Representatives agreed on Tuesday to provide $37 billion to continue financing America’s two wars, but the vote showed deepening divisions and anxiety among Democrats over the course of the nearly nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan. The 308-to-114 vote, with strong Republican support, came after the leak of an archive of classified battlefield reports from Afghanistan that fueled new debate over the course of the war and whether President Obama’s counterinsurgency strategy could work.

Contentions:

GOP support was strong indeed: 160 Republicans backed the war spending, while only 12 opposed it. By way of comparison, 148 Democrats backed the war spending, while 102 opposed it.

This is a good opportunity, then, to praise Republicans for standing with a Democratic president during a war that is increasingly unpopular.

I am reminded how, during the Bush years, the situation was very much reversed. Virtually the entire Democratic Party, with very few exceptions, turned hard against the Iraq war (which most of them initially supported). It is one of the most irresponsible and reckless displays we have seen in modern political history.

Democrats’ opposition to Bush and the surge was so intense, their commitment to a particular (defeatist) narrative so strong, and their eagerness to withdraw from Iraq so irresistible that they declared the Petraeus-led surge would not and could not work. It was simply incomprehensible to consider any other possibility.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for example, declared that “this surge is not accomplishing anything” and in April 2007 announced flatly that the Iraq war was “lost.” A young senator from Illinois, on the night President Bush announced the surge, proclaimed, “I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq are going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.” So said Barack Obama. Not to be outdone, Senator Joseph Biden declared: “If he surges another 20, 30 [thousand], or whatever number he’s going to, into Baghdad, it’ll be a tragic mistake.”

In the case of Afghanistan, GOP and conservative opposition to Obama on domestic polices, which is fierce, has not led them to oppose Obama in his efforts to win the war. The Republican Party is, in this instance, the responsible party, standing with a wartime president in a conflict of enormous significance. With a new commanding general in place and a new counterinsurgency strategy in the very early states of implementation, now is not the time to go wobbly. To its credit, the GOP, unlike the Democratic Party with Iraq, is holding shape.

Lindsey “Amnesty” Graham Calls for End to Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegals

Wow.

Sure didn't see this one coming.



And, yes, he posted that was posted to Graham's own YouTube account.

Allahpundit at Hot Air notes:

Seriously, I’m not sure how to read this. Either he’s now so terrified of a serious primary challenge — and rightly so — that he’s going to push mighty uncharacteristic base-pleasing policies over the next few years or, more intriguingly, he thinks that the country has shifted far enough to the right on immigration that something like this will now have to be included for any comprehensive bill to pass. In other words, The Great Compromiser may have surmised that any compromise now requires enforcement measures above and beyond merely sealing the border or building the hugely popular fence. That’s an amazing turn of events if so, and likely to be influential among Republicans in the next congressional term given Graham’s status as a benchmark of how far towards the center a GOPer can reasonably be. No one but no one wants to hear it said of him/her by grassroots conservatives, “They’re worse than Graham is!” Susan Collins and Scott Brown, take note.

Good News: Obama Nominee for Intelligence Director Wants CIA to Focus on Global Warming

Via Marc Ambinder:

For example, the DIA could serve as the DNI's Executive Agent for IC Document and Media Exploitation; the NSA could serve as the DNI's Executive Agent for IC Foreign Language Machine Translation; the CIA could serve as the DNI's Executive Agent on Climate Change.

...

Global climate change could have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years because it would aggravate existing world problems, such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions, that threaten state stability.

Of all of the things that the CIA needs to be "executive agent" on, or worried about, is climate change really supposed to be in their portfolio? Seriously?

Donnelly Wants Debates with Walorski

Normally, challengers seek debates because they're behind and need the extra media exposure (plus they need to hit the jackpot via the chance of their opponent screwing up). Politics 101.

What, then, should be read into Joe Donnelly announcing that he wants to have debates with Jackie Walorski?

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-2nd District) went negative with his second ad of the campaign this week, accusing Republican Jackie Walorski of supporting trade policies that send jobs to China and Mexico.

Walorski has responded with a youtube video asking for donations. It’s a comparison that makes her look like the favorite in a race that promises to be close. Donnelly also requested debates recently in another move that demonstrates his discomfort with the political landscape at the moment.

Donnelly must be seeing something very interesting in his internal polling for him to be behaving like this.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Star Wars on the Subway

Washington Post Moves IN Senate Race Rating

Nice, but expected.

* Indiana (Move from Toss Up to Lean Republican): Former Sen. Dan Coats quieted Republican fears about his candidacy with a solid second quarter of fundraising. Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) is an able candidate but is running in a tough state in a tough year for his party.

The Coming Storm

The Coming Storm

Arizona Immigration Law Ruling

Arizona Immigration Law Ruling

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

14 Weeks to Election Day: “Join Us as America Once Again Triumphs”



Indiana's own Mitch Daniels is in there quite a few times toward the end.

Greg Zoeller, Looking Out for Us

From the News & Tribune, a column by State Representative Ed Clere:

SOUTHERN INDIANA — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller may not have his cousin Fuzzy’s golf game, but he’s second to none when it comes to settling the score in favor of Hoosiers.

Elected in 2008, the New Albany native serves as the attorney for the state of Indiana. The attorney general represents the state in cases involving a state interest. In addition, Zoeller provides legal defense for state officials and agencies and advises the governor, legislators and other officials on legal matters. As the result of legislation we passed last year, the attorney general also defends teachers in school discipline lawsuits.

Consumer protection is a major focus. For example, earlier this month, Zoeller filed a complaint against a Louisville attorney who allegedly deceived an Indiana family into paying him hundreds of dollars for budget management services.

It’s a growing problem. The recession has left debt-ridden consumers looking for help, and many look in the wrong places. By the middle of this month, Zoeller’s office had received 87 consumer complaints against credit service organizations so far this year, already surpassing the 69 complaints received in all of 2009.

A new law that took effect July 1 requires all debt management and debt consolidation companies to register a $25,000 surety bond with the attorney general’s office. The bond acts as an insurance policy for consumers in the event the company fails to perform the services and does not provide a refund.

For Hoosiers with overwhelming debt, it is impossible to ignore the endless offers on television and radio, in newspapers and online that promise to fix bad credit easily and fast. The reality is these promises are misleading, and often the companies are operating illegally. Victims of these scams often lose hundreds or thousands of dollars - without any improvement in their credit.

Zoeller’s office advises consumers to watch for five red flags:

• The company wants you to pay upfront before it provides any services.

• The company doesn’t tell you your rights and what you can do for yourself for free.

• The company recommends that you don’t contact any of the three major national consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) directly.

• The company tells you it can get rid of most or all the negative credit information in your credit report, even if the information is accurate and current.

• The company suggests that you apply for an employer identification number to use instead of your Social Security number so you can invent a “new” credit identity.

To file a complaint or to confirm whether a credit service organization has a surety bond on file, call the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-382-5516.

Zoeller recommends Hoosiers avoid for-profit companies for credit counseling and reminds Hoosiers that repairing credit takes time, effort and a personal debt repayment plan. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (1-800-388-2227) certifies legitimate nonprofit credit counseling services and can provide referrals to member agencies.

State law prohibits the attorney general from practicing private law. This means Zoeller and his deputies can’t represent you in court or provide you with individual legal advice. Low-income individuals may seek assistance in civil cases from Legal Volunteers, which is in New Albany (949-2292), or Indiana Legal Services (1-800-892-2776), which also has an office in New Albany. Neither organization can assist with criminal matters.

With a few exceptions, the attorney general does not have legal jurisdiction to file criminal charges. That’s the job of county prosecutors. One exception is state tax evasion.

Last year, Zoeller filed criminal charges against the owners of a commercial dog-breeding operation in Harrison County - a so-called “puppy-mill” - who sold dogs to consumers without charging sales tax.

Zoeller seized 240 dogs and puppies that had been confined in squalid cages. The dogs were cared for at an emergency shelter that was set up in New Albany. After receiving veterinary care, the dogs were transferred to 10 animal shelters around the state and made eligible for adoption.

Looking out for Hoosiers - even canine Hoosiers - is what the attorney general does. More information, including extensive consumer protection information, is available at www.in.gov/attorneygeneral.

All of that *AND* he's suing to stop ObamaCare. What a guy.

The Daily Show: Obama Is the Donald Trump of Governance

And, apparently, Jon Stewart thinks that Andrew Breitbart is the most honest person in the whole Sherrod fiasco.

New York Times: Obama Healing the Planet (or Something) as Oil Spill “Vanishes”

I kid, of course.

Mostly.

Really.

But I doubt there was a story like this after the Exxon Valdez...

The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected, a piece of good news that raises tricky new questions about how fast the government should scale back its response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The immense patches of surface oil that covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the April 20 oil rig explosion are largely gone, though sightings of tar balls and emulsified oil continue here and there.

Reporters flying over the area Sunday spotted only a few patches of sheen and an occasional streak of thicker oil, and radar images taken since then suggest that these few remaining patches are quickly breaking down in the warm surface waters of the gulf.

John Amos, president of SkyTruth, an environmental advocacy group that sharply criticized the early, low estimates of the size of the BP leak, noted that no oil had gushed from the well for nearly two weeks.

“Oil has a finite life span at the surface,” Mr. Amos said Tuesday, after examining fresh radar images of the slick. “At this point, that oil slick is really starting to dissipate pretty rapidly.”

...

Scientists said the rapid dissipation of the surface oil was probably due to a combination of factors. The gulf has an immense natural capacity to break down oil, which leaks into it at a steady rate from thousands of natural seeps. Though none of the seeps is anywhere near the size of the Deepwater Horizon leak, they do mean that the gulf is swarming with bacteria that can eat oil.

The winds from two storms that blew through the gulf in recent weeks, including a storm over the weekend that disintegrated before making landfall, also appear to have contributed to a rapid dispersion of the oil. Then there was the response mounted by BP and the government, the largest in history, involving more than 4,000 boats attacking the oil with skimming equipment, controlled surface burns and other tactics.

Some of the compounds in the oil evaporate, reducing their impact on the environment. Jeffrey W. Short, a former government scientist who studied oil spills and now works for the environmental advocacy group Oceana, said that as much as 40 percent of the oil in the gulf might have simply evaporated once it reached the surface.

An unknown percentage of the oil would have been eaten by bacteria, essentially rendering the compounds harmless and incorporating them into the food chain. But other components of the oil have most likely turned into floating tar balls that could continue to gum up beaches and marshes, and may represent a continuing threat to some sea life. A three-mile by four-mile band of tar balls was discovered off the Louisiana coast on Tuesday.

Quote of the Day

In 2012, Senator Lugar should pass up the chance to run again; he should retire and leave the field open for a stronger, more vigorous, more conservative candidate who will not uncritically accept the dictates of Washington as direction for how he should fulfill is personal responsibility. Indiana, and Indiana Republicans, deserve better than Richard Lugar.

- Brian Sikma at Hoosier Access

Justifying Extending Unemployment Benefits

Justifying Extending Unemployment Benefits

The Smartest Guys in the Room

The Smartest Guys in the Room

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brad the Beautiful: Every Day Brings New Absurdities

Let's just be clear here.

Brad Ellsworth doesn't have a Senate campaign. He has a shameful farce.

Let's look at some of the fundamentals of the race.

Brad the Beautiful trails by twenty-plus points in polling, a fairly consistent double-digit margin that hasn't moved despite the Democrats throwing everything they could at Dan Coats (including a lot of stuff they just invented and made up out of thin air).

In the last quarter alone, despite Coats having to emerge from a primary, he raised around two and a half times as much money ($1.3 million to $529,000) as Ellsworth. Thanks to money Brad the Beautiful had left over from his House campaign fundraising, Coats still trails a tad in cash-on-hand, but the fundraising trend line is stark (and likely to get less pretty for Ellsworth as polling continues to be bad, the environment for Democrats continues to deteriorate, and the donors look elsewhere).

On top of these ominous fundamentals come the almost comical missteps of the Ellsworth campaign.

First came the campaign ad attacking special interests and lobbyists.

Then came the video of Ellsworth attending a big bucks fundraiser held by special interests and lobbyists.

Better yet, the fundraiser was in Canada.

Along with the first ad came the inevitable earned media for being the first Senate candidate up on the air.

The problem with that earned media?

It all focused on either Ellsworth claiming to have been a sheriff for 25 years (sheriffs in Indiana are limited to two 4-year terms, or a total of eight years in office), or him ignoring his time in Congress (and often mentioning that he doesn't want to talk about his voting record, something implicitly linking him in the readers' minds to everything that they're upset about in Washington).

From Fort Wayne to Louisville to the nationwide coverage in the Associated Press, the news coverage of Ellsworth's ads and his misleading statements has been uniformly negative.

I'm no expert, but I don't think that's exactly the sort of earned media that Brad the Beautiful was hoping to get out of his first commercial.

And when you consider that the ad buy for the first commercial was tiny and more people read the earned media than saw the ad, you can see how this might be something of a problem.

Then came the second commercial in which, unbelievably, Ellsworth repeated the claim about being a sheriff for 25 years.

Ellsworth and the Democrats' response to this amounted to sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming "I can't hear you! LA LA LA! Dan Coats used to be a lobbyist! LA LA LA!"

If you wrote this stuff and tried to sell it as a script for a novel or a movie or a TV show, nobody would believe it.

At a certain point (and we're probably at that point already if not nearly there), Hoosiers are going to stop taking Brad Ellsworth seriously.

And why wouldn't they?

Brad the Beautiful has obviously shown a shocking lack of sincerity and honesty in the opening moves of his campaign, and that's a bad thing in a year in which people are, as Archie Bunker once put it, "sick of Washington and its works."

Another real question, I suppose, will be how much longer the media will accept the absurdity of the Democratic talking points in response to Ellsworth twice lying about his law enforcement career.

Not too long ago, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, got into a world of trouble for claiming he was a Vietnam veteran when in fact he got five deferments and eventually became a reservist who spent his time in uniform organizing a Toys for Tots drive.

What Brad the Beautiful is doing here isn't all that different.

In two commercials now, Brad Ellsworth has looked into the camera and told Hoosiers that he was a sheriff for 25-years when everybody knows that's not the case.

It's a blatant lie, and it's something for which Hoosier voters will hold him accountable. (The media seems unwilling to let it slide, either.)

These ads were designed to introduce Brad Ellsworth to Hoosiers outside of southwestern Indiana for the first time. I don't think that anyone would seriously contend that the coverage Ellsworth has gotten would be the sort of introduction he (or his campaign, such as it is) wanted to have.

Brad the Beautiful is right about one thing. In this political environment, Hoosiers have a low tolerance for bull. Unfortunately for Democrats, the dispenser of the bull is Ellsworth himself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Man of Iron: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron Slashes Bloated Government

From John Burns, the dean of the foreign correspondents at the New York Times, no less.

Pay no attention to those troubling thoughts about why America, in a worse financial and budgetary position than Great Britain, shouldn't be undertaking a similar austerity program.

Focus, instead, on happy thoughts. Hope. Change. Puppies. Free health care. Unicorns.

It's a lengthy article, but well worth reading in full.

LONDON — In the five years David Cameron spent rebuilding the Conservative Party in opposition, opinion polls showed that as he sought to rebrand it by offering a compassionate but persistently fuzzy image, voters had trouble defining what sort of a prime minister he would make.

Not any longer.

After 10 weeks in office, Mr. Cameron, who met with President Obama in Washington on Tuesday, has emerged as one of the most activist prime ministers in modern times, rivaling in some respects even Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” who as the Conservative leader in the 1980s attacked unions and government bloat while privatizing national industries and vigorously pursuing free-market policies.

With a relentless battery of policy announcements, Mr. Cameron and his coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have proposed to couple the deep deficit cuts the conservatives sketched out during the May general election campaign with a wider effort to break the mold of big government in Britain that, despite Lady Thatcher’s best efforts, has largely prevailed since World War II.

In so doing, they have charted an economic course of almost savage austerity, an approach that contrasts starkly with the policies of Mr. Obama, who wrote to Mr. Cameron and other leaders last month warning against premature cuts in government spending that might drive the world into a double-dip recession.

Mr. Obama has chosen a different path for the United States, deferring the kind of sharp budget cuts now being rolled out across Europe, and at his meeting with Mr. Cameron the two leaders, in effect, agreed to disagree.

In a radio interview with NPR before going to the White House, Mr. Cameron expressed his viewpoint diplomatically. “Every country has to deal with its budget deficit, but the time at which we do it can vary,” he said.

And vary significantly, as Mr. Cameron’s government has shown. A budget last month proposed an austerity campaign of extraordinary severity, setting across-the-board cuts over the next five years of 25 percent and more. But that has proved to be only the scene-setter for an ambitious — and politically risky — bid to dismantle Britain’s sprawling bureaucracy. If successful, it will lift what the new leaders say is the state’s heavy hand on public life, restricting its reach into schools and hospitals, slashing welfare benefits and reviewing intrusive law-and-order Labour programs that have alarmed advocates for civil liberties.

At 43, Mr. Cameron is Britain’s youngest prime minister in nearly 200 years, and he appears to have surprised even himself. As opposition leader, he developed a reputation for blandness, but all that changed after the May 6 general election, when the Conservatives’ cautious, middle-of-the-road campaign failed to win the outright majority many had thought was theirs for the taking.

To achieve a parliamentary majority, Mr. Cameron reached out to the Liberal leader, Nick Clegg, and the two men vaulted ahead of their parties by drawing up a plan for a radical reshaping of the way Britain was governed.

Their proposals for slashing spending go beyond anything Britain has experienced in its modern history, even under Lady Thatcher. They sharply reverse course from a Labour government that, for 13 years under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, expanded the state’s power at a pace never seen outside of wartime, turning Britain into one of the most heavily taxed, tightly regulated countries in the developed world, with government accounting for about half the work force and half of the economy.

So far, the course charted by Mr. Cameron and his deputy prime minister, Mr. Clegg, remains largely visionary. At best, they face months, and potentially years, of slug-it-out battles with opponents, including skeptics in their own parties, as well as with newly restive labor unions and a recalcitrant bureaucracy. Their austerity drive alone could bring the coalition down, if people like Mr. Obama who fear that budget-slashing could drive economies like Britain’s back into recession prove to be right.

The main hallmark of the coalition’s program is a plan to halve the annual budget deficit of $235 billion within five years, and to achieve that by across-the-board cuts in almost all government ministries. All the departments involved have been told to prepare a plan for cuts as high as 40 percent, and some may have to cut much deeper than others to compensate for high-spending ministries like those responsible for the military and for Britain’s $290 billion annual welfare outlays, which are unlikely to make even the 25 percent reductions.

The National Health Service, while protected from cuts, has been ordered to shed thousands of jobs. The coalition’s plan is to hand real power — and 70 percent of the health budget — to general practitioners, who, in the coalition plan, would decide for the first time in the health service’s 60-year history what kind of treatment patients would get, and where they would get it.

In a bid to lift some of the poorest standards for literacy and educational achievement in Europe, parents are to gain wider powers to establish so-called academies, independent but publicly financed schools in which head teachers and their staff would be freed from the stifling oversight of local councils and the central education authorities.

A system of legal aid that is one of the world’s most expensive would be slashed, with deep cuts in lawyer’s fees and cases that could be paid out of the taxpayers’ pockets, including divorces. The BBC, financed by $5.3 billion in license fees paid by everyone in Britain with a television set, faces deep cuts as the coalition considers reducing the $220 annual license. Tens of thousands of government workers are likely to lose their jobs, and those who stay are likely to face a two-year wage freeze and potentially sharp pension cutbacks.

In a country with 2.5 million long-term unemployed people, the coalition plans savings of tens of billions of dollars in welfare payments, including radical cuts in the rent the government would pay for subsidized housing. After newspaper accounts telling of immigrant families receiving more than $150,000 a year in taxpayer-paid rent to live in large houses in some of London’s most fashionable districts, the coalition has said that it will place a cap of $600 a week on such payments.

A catalog of laws and practices that advocates of civil liberties have deemed intrusive are to be reviewed. These include 28-day detention orders for people suspected of terrorism, a Labour plan for national ID cards, and the wide use by the police and other enforcement agencies of an elaborate network of closed-circuit television cameras.

Weakened and divided by its May election defeat and temporarily rudderless as it awaits the election this fall of a new leader to succeed Mr. Brown, Labour has resolved to halt many of the changes by all means possible. In the short term, that points to a new and prolonged season of labor unrest, particularly by public sector unions.

Beyond that, Labour has said it will work to ensure that the new coalition is a one-term government, doomed to defeat in a popular backlash in the 2015 general election — and doomed much sooner if strains already showing within the coalition widen to the point of collapse.

Oliver Stone: Hitler Needs “Context”

From Newsbusters:

Director Oliver Stone belittled the Holocaust during a shocking interview with the Sunday Times today, claiming that America's focus on the Jewish massacre was a product of the "Jewish domination of the media."

The director also defended Hitler and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and railed against the "powerful lobby" of Jews in America.

Stone said that his upcoming Showtime documentary series "Secret History of America," seeks to put Hitler and Communist dictator Joseph Stalin "in context."

"Hitler was a Frankenstein but there was also a Dr Frankenstein. German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support," Stone told reporter Camilla Long during the interview, which can be found behind the paywall on the Sunday Times' website.

Stone said that, "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed]."

The Sunday Times interviewer then asked why there was such a focus on the Holocaust.

"The Jewish domination of the media," responded Stone. "There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years."

The director, who recently met with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, also slammed the U.S. policy toward Iran as "horrible."

"Iran isn't necessarily the good guy," said Stone. "[B]ut we don't know the full story!"

Caucuses Fill Harrison Office Vacancies

From the Courier-Journal:

Robert Morris of New Salisbury was chosen by fellow Democrats Tuesday to fill the unexpired 2nd District County Council term of the late Bill Nichols.

During a caucus, party leaders also voted separately to select Morris to represent the party in the Nov. 2 general election against Republican Gary Davis, who held the seat for two terms before being ousted in 2006 by Nichols.

Nichols died July 2 after suffering from severe burns in a farm accident. He had defeated Morris, a union meat cutter, by 102 votes in the May 4 primary.

Morris said Wednesday that he intends to continue to push for the county-funded Lifelong Learning program, which Nichols founded with other officials and actively supported. Morris said he also intends to support efforts to install sewers in the New Salisbury business corridor.

“I’ll find out more about what we have in front of us,” Morris said of serving on the council. “I’m excited about it. I’m ready to go.”

And here:

Harrison County Republicans chose Harold Klinstiver over five other candidates to serve out the unexpired term of the late county surveyor Thomas Bube, who died June 26 after being found unconscious at his courthouse desk.

Klinstiver, a retired Indiana Department of Transportation project supervisor from Elizabeth, was chosen on the first ballot during a party caucus Friday. In all, 27 precinct representatives voted, according to Scott Fluhr, the party’s central committee chairman, but he declined to reveal vote totals.

Former surveyor and county commissioner J.R. Eckart, a Corydon business owner, had served as interim surveyor since July 6.

Klinstiver himself was not present at the caucus that chose him. He was in a bad car wreck earlier that afternoon while driving on Highway 111 from New Albany to Elizabeth. He and his wife (who recently had knee-replacement surgery) are currently in the hospital with some broken bones. I'm told their conditions are serious but not critical.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Obama Pushed for Release of Lockerbie Terrorist

From The Australian, of all places, because you know that the media here will never report it:

THE US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be "far preferable" to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Libya.
Correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times reveals the Obama administration considered compassionate release more palatable than locking up Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in a Libyan prison.

The intervention, which has angered US relatives of those who died in the attack, was made by Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the US embassy in London, a week before Megrahi was freed in August last year on grounds that he had terminal cancer.

The document, acquired by a well-placed US source, threatens to undermine US President Barack Obama's claim last week that all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry" to learn of Megrahi's release.

Scottish ministers viewed the level of US resistance to compassionate release as "half-hearted" and a sign it would be accepted.

The US has tried to keep the letter secret, refusing to give permission to the Scottish authorities to publish it on the grounds it would prevent future "frank and open communications" with other governments.

I seem to recall reading that BP wanted this guy released, too, because it was viewed as helpful to getting an oil contract in Libya.

I wonder how much campaign money Obama got from BP.

Oh wait...

Journ-O-List Protection

Journ-O-List Protection

Leaky Cap

Leaky Cap

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Something You Audit Know

Hilarity from Debbie Harbeson at the News & Tribune:

Clark County audit reports from the Indiana State Board of Accounts for 2008 are now available at www.in.gov/sboa. However, you should definitely not read them because they are completely unfair to Clark County Government officials.

First of all, the state board claims county government has a lack of internal controls, something they say helps assure that money is being budgeted, appropriated and spent according to law. Phooey.

Internal controls are completely unnecessary. A system that only exists due to coercion always operates effectively and ethically.

I’m with Clark County Commissioners President Ed Meyer, who says they’ve been relying on the offices to regulate themselves. Government entities need no oversight — that’s only necessary for those risking their own funds in the competitive private sector, not government officials handling other people’s money.

Ed says he doesn’t think the commissioners should get involved in the operations of county departments. Right on Ed! None of us expect commissioners, who are the executive body for the county, to actually oversee the county. Ed knows we only want him to focus on the important issues, like passing cell phone messages through the local gossip mill.

However, since the commissioners were implicated in these reports, they have made a brilliant decision to, as Ed says, “get out of this predicament.” It’s an ingenious idea: Spend more money and hire someone else to do the job.

After all, like Jack Coffman, president of the current county council says, “it’s just so hard.” He’s right. They can’t be expected to actually know what’s in the Indiana Code as it pertains to their jobs.

For goodness sakes, no one discusses such minor details during election campaigns. They only tell us the important stuff, like how they love living here and just want to give back to the community as “public servants.”

And what’s with the state admonishing county departments for not having a process to communicate well? Why would those who budget and appropriate funds need to know what’s going on with those who handle the funds? When I heard this stupid idea, I spit a mouthful of lunch on my unreconciled bank statements.

But now, as a result of these reports, the county auditor will prepare monthly reports so the council and commissioners know what’s going on. Ridiculous.

I’m sure the auditor has much better things to do than actually keeping tabs on the fiscal matters of Clark County. Who cares if unappropriated money is spent, especially when it’s for vital government services, like sheriff’s public relations?

I can’t believe the reports were so critical of not using detailed expenditure accounts either. A budget classification of “other services and charges” could not possibly increase the county’s risk for misappropriation.

This next item was really silly: The state board said proper procedures were not in place to determine that correct amounts were paid on invoices. Gee whiz, a little over payment to vendors here and there is no problem. It stimulates the economy.

According to the reports, money spent from the drug and alcohol fund was not properly spent while Steve Fleece was in charge of Clark’s Superior Court No. 3, but I just don’t see it. For example, it’s easy to understand why he recommended spending money on new carpet using this fund. Many drunken people have puked on carpets, so an association clearly exists.

Also, his recommendation to donate government money from this fund to a local church for items unrelated to the purpose of the fund makes sense too. This cozy intertwining of religion and government has worked out well throughout human history.

I’m sure you’ve heard enough by now to be convinced that you should not read these reports — the ones that are at www.in.gov/sboa. Besides, county officials assure us that if there were problems in 2008, they have now been resolved. So you should believe them and not read these reports — the ones available at www.in.gov/sboa .

Reports are available for every county; they're well worth reading. Lots of stuff gets said in them that, as Debbie notes, unfortunately never sees the light of day.

Bad government flourishes in the dark.

B. Patrick Bauer for Minority Leader

Join this hilarious Facebook group.

Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit

Harrison County to Spend $1 Million on Furniture for New Government Offices

From the Corydon Democrat:

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners opened bids Monday night for furniture for the three buildings on the old hospital campus in south Corydon.

Bret Dodd, project manager of RQAW Consulting Engineers and Architects based in Indianapolis, opened the only bid which totaled just more than $1 million. The furniture for the main government center building will cost more than $664,000, the health building furniture totals more than $213,000 and the Purdue Extension building furniture is the cheapest, at about $158,000.

Dodd said the bid, from Krueger International Inc. (Noblesville), was below the last furniture estimate.

"It's consistent with the budget," he said.

Carson Clings to Tea Party Smear



Hat tip: Advance Indiana.

Rand Paul Still Leading in Kentucky

Even tripping over his own words can't stop Rand Paul, it seems:

It’s the same story in Kentucky’s race for U.S. Senate again this month. Republican Rand Paul continues to hold a modest lead over Democrat Jack Conway.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Paul picking up 49% of the vote, while Conway earns support from 41%. Four percent (4%) would prefer another candidate, while six percent (6%) more are not sure.

Support for both Paul has been at 49% for three straight surveys while Conway has held steady at 41% or 42%.

With the exception of a big bounce immediately after his primary win, Paul has received between 46% and 50% support in match-ups with Conway since January. During the same period, Conway has earned between 34% and 42% of the vote.

The race is rated Leans Republican in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power summary.

Missouri Senate Race Ad



Geraghty opines on the race:

There was a point, early in the cycle, when Missouri’s Senate contest between Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Robin Carnahan looked like it was going to be among the most exciting and competitive Senate races of this cycle, if not the most exciting and competitive. Yet it’s slid under the radar; the Post‘s Chris Cillizza ranks the currently GOP-held seat the 9th most likely to switch. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee faces vulnerable incumbents in unexpected places like California, Washington, Wisconsin, and Nevada; with protecting those incumbents a priority, there are likely to be fewer resources to be thrown into Missouri.

Carnahan has not led a poll since January. Blunt’s leads aren’t big, but they are consistent.

Roy Blunt seems pretty sure that tying Carnahan to Obama is a winner.

When watching the above ad, just replace "Robin Carnahan" with "Brad Ellsworth" and "Roy Blunt" with "Dan Coats" in your mind.

Jobless Benefits

Jobless Benefits

Financial Reform Bill

Financial Reform Bill

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hypocrisy Is Not a Hoosier Value



Yes, that's actual video of Brad Ellsworth at his special interest fundraiser in Canada.

You just can't make this stuff up.

A Path to a Senate Majority?

The Wall Street Journal sees one:

Democrats for the first time are acknowledging that Republicans could retake the Senate this November if everything falls into place for the GOP, less than two years after Democrats held a daunting 60-seat majority.

Leaders of both parties have believed for months that Republicans could win the House, where every lawmaker faces re-election. But a change of party control in the Senate, where only a third of the members are running and Republicans must capture 10 seats, seemed out of the question.

That's no longer the case. The emergence of competitive Republican candidates in Wisconsin, Washington and California—Democratic-leaning states where polls now show tight races—bring the number of seats that Republicans could seize from the Democrats to 11.

Democrats now control the Senate 59-41—after the death of Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was replaced by Republican Sen. Scott Brown—including two independents who usually vote with them. That means Republicans need 10 seats to take a 51-49 advantage.

Republicans would have to win virtually every competitive race to retake the Senate, without losing any seats of their own—clearly an uphill climb. The trouble for Democrats is that many trends are against them. Surveys show that Republicans are more motivated than Democrats to go to the polls, and that voters are looking for new leadership in Congress.

"I think there is definitely a chance" of losing the Senate, said Democratic strategist Gary Nordlinger, a Washington-based media consultant. "I wouldn't call it a probability, but there is certainly a chance."

"Republicans still have to [win] all the competitive races in order to get to a majority, but at least there are enough seats on the table to pull it off," said Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.

So does Geraghty:

Right now it is very likely that no GOP Senate incumbents lose. This secures Louisiana and North Carolina. At this point, the GOP appears near-certain to keep New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky.

This means they keep their floor of 41 votes. Now throw in the races that are already near-certain, like North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Colorado, Delaware.

This puts them at 46. Toomey’s pretty darn likely to pick up Pennsylvania. That’s 47. Sharron Angle trailed the last poll in Nevada, but Harry Reid’s been consistently stuck below 44 for more than a year. Throw her in for 48.

The GOP probably ought to win Illinois, but that one can’t be taken for granted after Mark Kirk’s rough couple of weeks. But figure there’s a wave of revulsion at Illinois Democrats, the party of Rod Blagojeich and the unpopular governor, Pat Quinn. Kirk’s win would put it at 49.

The ones that are looking competitive and hard to predict right now are California, Wisconsin, and Washington. (West Virginia could conceivably get competitive, but there’s no real evidence of that yet.) If the Senate were split 50-50, Vice President Joe Biden would be the tie-breaking vote, so Republicans really need to win 51 to control the Senate. They need nothing to go wrong*, and for a good national wave to add momentum to two out of these four: Carly Fiorina, Ron Johnson, Dino Rossi, or their nominee in West Virginia. But if the GOP is really is on course to add 7 to 10 seats, they should be on pace for monster gains in the House.

* You are permitted to laugh loudly and at length at that caveat.

How Do You Like New Jersey Now?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Caucuses to Fill Harrison County Vacancies

From the Courier-Journal:

Democrats and Republicans in Harrison County will have caucuses this week to determine who will fill vacant spots left after two officials died.

Democrats are having a caucus Tuesday to fill the 2nd District County Council seat of William Nichols, who died on July 2 after suffering from severe burns in a farm accident. Three people have expressed interest in the position, said county Democratic chairwoman Barbara Black.

On Friday, the GOP will have a caucus to replace county surveyor Thomas Bube, who died June 26 after being found unconscious at his desk. County GOP chairman Scott Fluhr said there are possibly six people interested in becoming surveyor, but only two had filed a declaration of candidacy as of late last week. The others have until 72 hours before the caucus to file the paperwork.

Those who have filed for surveyor are Joe Bube, the son of Thomas Bube, and Bill Watts, who previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for county councilman. Bube said he worked with his father in the surveyor's office doing field work.

Other candidates expected to file for surveyor include Elizabeth resident Harold Klinstiver, who retired after working for 42 years for the Indiana Department of Transportation and has run unsuccessfully in the past ran for county council and commissioner, and J.R. Eckart, who has been serving as interim surveyor since July 6. Eckart previously served as surveyor and commissioner.

Max Brown, who worked as a surveyor for 37 years with Paul Primavera and Associates, said he also plans on seeking the office because Bube suggested that he do so while Bube was campaigning unsuccessfully for sheriff this spring.

Black, meantime, said none of the three county council candidates have served in that position before. The candidates are Robert Morris, Noble Davis Jr. and Donnie Hussung.

Morris, a meat cutter at Kroger, lost to Nichols in the May primary. He and Hussung have served on school boards in the county. Davis, who drove freight trains before retiring, said he has always been interested in politics.

Whoever is chosen will run against Republican Gary Davis in the general election in November.

The GOP and Democratic caucuses are open to the public.

If Hussung is picked by the Democrats, I wonder if the Lanesville school board will use school resources to send out newsletters to remind the voters of Franklin Township about which candidate they should vote for.

The Road to Recovery Is Paved With...

The Road to Recovery

Green Shoots

Green Shoots

Great Article about Chief Justice John Roberts

From the LA Times, no less:

The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week after landmark decisions protecting the right to have a gun and the right of corporations to spend freely on elections. But the year's most important moment may have come on the January evening when the justices gathered at the Capitol for President Obama's State of the Union address.

They had no warning about what was coming.

Obama and his advisors had weighed how to respond to the court's ruling the week before, which gave corporations the same free-spending rights as ordinary Americans. They saw the ruling as a rash, radical move to tilt the political system toward big business as they coped with the fallout from the Wall Street collapse.

Some advisors counseled caution, but the president opted to criticize the conservative justices in the uncomfortable spotlight of national television as Senate Democrats roared their approval.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is still angered by what he saw as a highly partisan insult to the independent judiciary. The incident put a public spotlight on the deep divide between the Obama White House and the Roberts court, one that could have a profound effect in the years ahead.

The president and congressional Democrats have embarked on an ambitious drive to regulate corporations, banks, health insurers and the energy industry. But the high court, with Roberts increasingly in control, will have the final word on those regulatory laws.

Many legal experts foresee a clash between Obama's progressive agenda and the conservative court.

"Presidents with active agendas for change almost always encounter resistance in the courts," said Stanford University law professor Michael W. McConnell, a former federal appellate court judge. "It happened to [ Franklin D.] Roosevelt and it happened to Reagan. It will likely happen to Obama too."

Already, the healthcare overhaul law, Obama's signal achievement, is under attack in the courts. Republican attorneys general from 20 states have sued, insisting the law and its mandate to buy health insurance exceed Congress' power and trample on states' rights.

Two weeks ago, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled Obama had overstepped his authority by ordering a six-month moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

On another front, the administration says it will soon go to court in Phoenix seeking to block Arizona's controversial immigration law, which is due to take effect July 29. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer said Arizona would go to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to preserve the law.

As chief justice, Roberts has steered the court on a conservative course, one that often has tilted toward business. For example, the justices have made it much harder for investors or pension funds to sue companies for stock fraud.

Two years ago, the court declared for the first time that the gun rights of individuals were protected by the Constitution. This year, the justices made clear this was a "fundamental" right that extended to cities and states as well as federal jurisdictions.

Since the arrival in 2006 of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Roberts has had a five-member majority skeptical of campaign funding restrictions. At first, he moved cautiously. Roberts spoke for the majority in 2007 in saying that a preelection broadcast ad sponsored by a nonprofit corporation was protected as free speech even though it criticized a candidate for office.

Last year, the court had before it another seemingly minor challenge to election laws by a group that wanted permission to sell a DVD that slammed Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was running for president in 2008. This time, however, Roberts decided on a much bolder move.

The 5-4 ruling in the Citizens United case struck down all limits on direct election spending — for giant, profit-making corporations as well as small nonprofit groups. For more than 60 years, Congress and many states had barred corporate and union spending to sway elections. The court's opinion dismissed all such laws as unconstitutional censorship.

The decision came as a "real shock to the administration and to the Democrats in Congress," said Simon Lazarus, counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center. "It's also caused a sea change in their thinking about the court. Before, it was all about the 'culture wars' issues, like abortion, prayer and gay rights. Afterward, they saw this new activist thrust among the conservatives as a direct threat to their legislative agenda."

The change was on full display in last week's Senate hearing on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Democrats accused the high court of judicial activism in favor of corporations — "particularly by the five Republican appointees who have steered so hard to the right," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Republicans in the hearing targeted Obama's "tremendous expansion" of the government and argued for the court to aggressively restrain Congress and the White House. "The Supreme Court … ought to go for freedom, not more government," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

Obama chose Kagan for the court believing she could bridge the gap with some of its conservatives. Her mission is to help uphold the laws that Obama and Democrats are pushing through Congress.

During her hearing, Kagan found herself in the odd spot of defending judicial restraint before senators who usually worry aloud about sending a "judicial activist" to the court.

"Can you name for me any economic activity that the federal government cannot regulate under the commerce clause?" asked Sen. John Cornyn (R- Texas).

"I wouldn't try to," Kagan replied, emphasizing that the court has long said lawmakers have broad powers to regulate economic activity.

The high court, however, will decide whether making Americans buy health insurance amounts to economic activity.

It may be another year or two before a true challenge to the Obama agenda reaches the Supreme Court.

McConnell, the law professor, said the administration's broad set of regulatory moves made a clash almost inevitable. "It does not mean the courts are being 'political,' " he said. "It is the way the institutions are designed, to create checks and balances."

The Founders provided in the Constitution a whole series of checks against the power of the state over the people. Each branch of government was a check against the other two.

And, currently, one of those branches of government (the legislative) is a rubber stamp to another (the executive). Only the judicial branch remains as a check on the unrestrained power of the state over the people, be it in health care or drilling moratoriums unsupported by the law or in the nationalization of automobile companies or the bullying of business or whatever else.

In every one of these cases, Congress is not serving as a check on the power of the President. The only check on the power of the executive branch are the courts, in particular the Supreme Court.

John Roberts has the potential to go down as the most significant Hoosier in modern American history.

Obama Lied, Babies Died

Best slogan evah:

It's hard to comprehend that intelligent people believe Obama speaks the truth. A simple question: If an individual encourages coldly tossing a barely breathing infant into a laundry room to die and uses the upholding of the original intent to kill the baby as an excuse, is it logical to assume such a person has a high regard for truth?

Barack Obama supports killing the unborn and if by chance the infant should happen to "burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion" by refusing to die, Barry disagrees with providing a helpless being medical care. Plain and simple, Obama is cold and heartless.

If lying were an art, Barack would be its master. Liberal pro-choice advocate Barack Obama "successfully opposed including language in the [health care reform] bill to prevent federal subsidies for abortions." The President intended to quietly advance an "abortion-expanding agenda through administrative decisions."

When it appeared a few sentimental pro-lifers jeopardized Obamacare, it didn't take much to sway the easily fleeced Bart Stupak and seven left-leaning lackeys. In order to pass health care reform the President lied to gullible pro-life Democrats, signed a phony executive order, and swore health care would not fund abortion.

Obama might as well have pulled a dirty tissue out of his pocket, called it an executive order and after getting the credulous to agree, crumpled it up and filed it in the "easily deceived" category.

After health care reform passed, taxpayer monies are now going directly to abortionists in Pennsylvania to make sure murder is amply funded. Under the new national government-run health care program, "the Obama administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new "high risk" insurance program." Named after pro-choice champions Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the program is called the Rendell-Sebelius plan, which is Obama-speak for taxpayer-subsidized abortions.

The Rendell-Sebelius federally-funded insurance program is being presented as monies to cover "preventative care, physician services, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, mental health services, prescription medications and much more." Get out a yellow highlighter and underline the words "much more."

Let's do the math. If all of the $160 million dollars go to fund first trimester abortions, which run about $350.00, it calculates to be 457,143 human beings successfully sluiced from society. If a meager $40 million dollars were spent to cover "any legal abortion...except sex selection," that would assure nationalized health care 114, 286 fewer sick people to worry about, which would ultimately benefit the Obamanomic bottom line.

Besides the lies, Barry has, under duress, legally bound pro-life Americans to tax-tithe to the First Church of Obama's most highly esteemed charity, government funded abortions. If Barry gets his way, which he always does, regardless of religious affiliation or moral conviction Americans will fund feticide.

Obama claims when it comes to ending a pregnancy, "The decision generally is one that a woman should make." Yet, the President's dictatorial decrees deny choice to those who don't support abortion. Obama is intolerant toward conscientious objection and denies religious exemption. Barry's policies force the resistant to hand the abortionist the suction and scalpel by financially aiding and abetting the executioner.

If America is in search of an apropos motto, here's one that fits: Obama lied and babies died. The next time Barack finishes speaking and turns to walk from the podium, look closely, his pants are on fire.

Just Stupid: Obama Uses Special Plane to Fly His Dog on Vacation

Wow. Just, wow.

The president was the first to walk onto the tarmac, dressed casually in a pale blue Oxford shirt and khakis. A few minutes later, the first lady, dressed in black capris, a tank-top and sandals, walked onto the runway. Shortly afterward, Malia and Sasha joined their parents.

Baldacci and his wife, Karen, presented the family with gift bags full of Maine-made goodies, including baskets made by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, popcorn from Little Lad’s Bakery in East Corinth, iconic L.L. Bean bags, University of Maine ice hockey hats, and an assortment of other Maine foods and books.

Karen Baldacci said the bags for Malia and Sasha contained one loon toy and one chickadee toy that sound their natural calls.

Arriving in a small jet before the Obamas was the first dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S. Sen Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and the president’s personal aide Reggie Love, who chatted with Baldacci.

Let me get this straight. He has to have a special plane to fly his dog on vacation, but we're all supposed to sacrifice to get through these tough times?

Geez.

I suspect that most people that have pets would, if taking the pet with them on vacation, want to have the pet travel with them rather than separately. That would especially be the case if there's room for the pet to travel along with them.

And since Obama does have a big swanky jumbo jet at his disposal, I suspect that finding room for a Portuguese water dog (which isn't exactly large in size as dogs go) wouldn't be hard.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the Obamas, or at least Barack Obama, doesn't have a whole lot of use for the First Pet.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.

Another Interesting Unemployment Chart

Unemployment by House Majority
Unemployment alongside the holder of the majority in the House of Representatives (where budget and taxation bills originate).

Arizona's Immigration Law Is Impacting Party Alignment in Maricopa County

From Geraghty:

This June in Arizona’s Maricopa County, 227 voters switched from no affiliation or some other party to the Democratic party. This includes 44 former registered Republicans.

Another 211 voters switched to “independent”; this total included 55 Democrats and 69 Republicans.

Another 217 left the Democratic party to become “Party Not Designated.”

And 530 joined the Republican party, including 190 former registered Democrats and 252 who were “Party Not Designated.”

Tell me again why Obama thinks his lawsuit is such a good idea?

Grand Jury Expected in Death of Former Harrison County Jail Commander

The sheriff's department continues to make news.

From the Courier-Journal:

A special prosecutor has asked Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis to convene a grand jury to review the death of former jail commander Christine Britton.

Shortly after Britton died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home in March 2009, her husband, Harrison County Police Officer John Britton, told investigators the couple had been arguing and that he placed his handgun on their bed and left the room - only to hear the fatal shot moments later.

Records show that John Britton told Indiana State Police detectives he never dreamed his 28-year-old wife, who had been working as a corrections officer, would kill herself.

But relatives of the woman have questioned whether her husband's actions amounted to assisting a suicide.

Davis said Tuesday he would rule on Special Prosecutor Nancy Jacobs' motion for a grand jury in a couple of days after checking the court calendar for dates to convene the panel that would decide whether to return an indictment.

John Britton could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Stan Faith, John Britton's lawyer, said he wasn't aware of Jacobs' request but doubted the proceeding will result in charges against Britton.

"I don't expect there to be an indictment," Faith said. "The facts of the case really don't rise to the level of assisting a suicide."

Jacobs said in an interview that she couldn't discuss her reasons for asking for a grand jury, except, "I feel like with the evidence, it's a case that is appropriate to be considered by a grand jury."

The evidence is expected to include a recording of the 911 call John Britton made to the county's dispatch center moments after the shooting, and statements from emergency crews and neighbors who rushed to the couple's Ramsey home.

There are also tapes and written depositions from state police interviews with John Britton at a nearby fire station later that day and at the Sellersburg police post a few days after that.

Documents obtained by The Courier-Journal indicated that blood spatter evidence collected by lab technicians at the scene supported John Britton's assertion that he had left the room moments before Christine Britton fired the gun.

Relatives of Christine Britton, meantime, notified county officials last fall of plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Harrison County, the sheriff's department and its employees in connection with her death. The notice said the family intends to seek damages in excess of $700,000.

By law, anyone who sues a government entity first must send such a notice, and the government has 90 days to attempt to resolve the dispute or deny the claim. Corydon lawyer David Layson notified the family's lawyer, Greg Clark, earlier this year that the claim had been denied.

The family's lawsuit has not yet been filed, Clark said. But he said the grand jury request is good news because the family needs "some closure. I don't think this is going to bring 100 percent closure, but it could bring about some answers. That's important."

Since Christine Britton's death, Harrison's commissioners have criticized Sheriff Mike Deatrick's handling of John Britton's employment. Britton was placed on paid leave, has had the use of county-owned vehicles and was sent to out-of-town police training seminars.

The sheriff, who faces pending criminal charges in an unrelated sexual misconduct case, has offered little or no response to the commissioners' complaints. But he has said in the past that Indiana law places the sheriff in charge of the jail and the sheriff's department, so other elected officials have no say in police business.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Obama: Al Qaeda Is Racist

Well, that just explains everything.

In an interview earlier today with the South African Broadcasting Corporation to air in a few hours, President Obama disparaged al Qaeda and affiliated groups’ willingness to kill Africans in a manner that White House aides say was an argument that the terrorist groups are racist.

Speaking about the Uganda bombings, the president said, “What you’ve seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself. They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains.” …

Explaining the president’s comment, an administration official said Mr. Obama “references the fact that both U.S. intelligence and past al Qaeda actions make clear that al Qaeda — and the groups like al Shabaab that they inspire — do not value African life. The actions of al Qaeda and the groups that it has inspired show a willingness to sacrifice innocent African life to reach their targets.” … “In short,” the official said, “al Qaeda is a racist organization that treats black Africans like cannon fodder and does not value human life.”

Commentary responds:

Oh, good grief. Al-Qaeda isn’t a racist organization — it’s an organization that kills regardless of race anyone who stands in the way of its Islamo-fascist vision. The notion that it is racist is not only ignorant but also transparently manipulative. Does the administration really think that Africans can only be motivated if they think race is behind the slaughter of their people? And does Obama mean to suggest that al-Qaeda is pro-white? The mind reels.

It is this sort of thing that fills one with dread and raises this question: is there no limit to the lengths Obama will go to avoid spelling out the real motive behind Islamic fundamentalist terror? It’s the Islamic fundamentalism, of course. The Obami, however, would rather make up a counter-factual narrative and introduce a potentially divisive racial theme (don’t we want Europeans to take the war on terror seriously? what about Indonesians?) into the worldwide war against terrorism than be candid with the American people. Despite his worldly credentials, Obama’s foreign policy is strikingly condescending toward the rest of the world. Muslims will get confused and upset if we identify radical Islam as the basis for terrorism! Africans won’t join us unless they think it’s all about race!

I think we need a post-post-racial commander in chief who doesn’t assume that the rest of the world is populated by dolts.

For Barack Obama, everything is about race. He views the entire world through a racial prism. He seems to view all comments about him as if they are based on his race. He seems to view all responses to his policies as if they are based on his race. And, now, he seems to view the actions of an organization of terrorist murderers as if they are based on race, too.